The Weekly Wrap #18


A few months after we moved in to our condo, I suggested to the board that we create a central community library. People liked the idea. We now have a bookcase that operates on the Little Free Library principle that people can take and leave reading material as they wish.

Since this was my suggestion, I volunteered to manage the library. Once a week, I neaten the books, weed worn books, pull titles that have been sitting around for too long, and clear out back issues of magazines. (Readers of The New Yorker and National Geographic seem unable to recycle old issues. They always appear in massive piles.)

I knew I would love our community library, but the love is different than expected. I thought I would love having access to new books. Instead, what I love is encountering the small, everyday reading my neighbors are enjoying. Each week, there are new issues focusing on current events, home decor, travel, retirement, health, and crafting. Sure tons of popular magazines, like TIME, Newsweek, and Good Housekeeping show up, but I also see titles like Texas Wildlife, Family Handyman, and Art in America.

There must be a British ex-pat in residence because I discovered a new to me title, The Simple Things, that comes out of the UK. It's a magazine that rejoices in slowing down, being mindful, and enjoying life's small pleasures. It's a delightfully cozy read and I am always excited when a new issue shows up in the pile.

What everyday reading to you enjoy?

At the end of the week, I started A Thief Among the Trees by Sabaa Tahir. It’s a standalone graphic novel based in the world of her An Ember in the Ashes series. The art is beautiful - rich in color and dynamic action. The story only makes sense if you’ve read at least the first book in the series. Definitely recommend the series if you like YA and fantasy.

  • Walking is also good exercise for your brain. [Fast Company]

  • Email apnea - a thing I didn't know existed but definitely have done before. [Real Simple]

  • Many drugs last long past their expiration date. [ProPublica]

  • Ooo, yum! [The Department of Salad]

  • Netflix is changing what's made into television. [The Atlantic]

  • Try not to sneeze in the archives but, if  you do, it's probably not the end of the world. [The Atlantic]

  • During the pandemic, people purged their belongings and parts of their lives. [NYT]

  • Do you suffer from the Sunday scaries? [WaPo]

  • Why your brain loves a to do list. [The Guardian]

  • The Japanese hanko stamp tradition is having trouble moving to the digital age. [99% Invisible]

  • Water sommeliers? [Gastropod]

  • Mount Everest is growing. [Short Wave]

  • There's a spot in the ocean where space junk falls to its demise. [Atlas Obscura]

  • The video game economy - on and offline. [Planet Money]

  • The quest to crack the code for buried treasure. [Atlas Obscura]

  • The Olympics aren't great for cities. [Throughline]

  • The gorgeous glass octopus. [Colossal]

  • We rewatched Bridgerton because that's how I wanted to celebrate my birthday. It's just as frothy and delightful the second time around. [Netflix]

  • Our binge of Doctor Who continues and we have now entered the Jodie Whitaker seasons. There is always an adjustment with a new doctor. It's just weird to have a new actor step into the lead role every few seasons. In this case, I very much enjoy what Whitaker brings to role. What's more jarring, however, is the new style of filmmaking and cinematography. The writing also seems a bit clunkier. [HBO Max]

  • We have now entered all Olympics all the time season. It's weird watching sports with no live audience. [NBC]

  • Lots of repeat recipes this week. We did celebrate my birthday by ordering pizza from the place down the street. The crust has a crunch to it which is not my favorite (I prefer a chew) but the toppings are stellar. We get fresh mozzarella, pepperoni, and kalamata olives on my half. Plus, the sauce is a simple tomato, but it tastes fresh with a slight hint of acidity that cuts through the usual pizza grease. If you're a DC local, highly recommend. [Vace]

  • Mosquitos love me. If I don't get bug spray on fast enough, I am a feast for the wee biters. I kept seeing recommendations for the Bug Bite Thing. I gave in and ordered a set of three. WORTH IT! I usually get huge welts and end up very itchy. This device knocks it out in seconds flat. I like that it is reusable and portable. [Bug Bite Thing]

I might not have included any recipes in this week’s newsletter but, if you’ve been a reader for awhile, you might have noticed that I link to Budget Bytes a lot. I thought it was high time I just recommend the website flat out. It’s run by Beth Moncel and she focuses on creating tasty recipes that are filling and budget friendly. Most are easy to make and, often, can be made in about 30 minutes. She also offers an app and meal plans. The recipes are searchable and include vegan and vegetarian options.

How is it the last week of July already? There are still so many projects on my summer list that need to get done before fall hits.